The Building and Safety Division is legally required to approve the building in the design stage before issuance of any permit for construction. In order to approve the design, it becomes necessary, therefore, to conduct a formal detailed plan review to verify compliance with applicable codes.
Once the plans are accepted for review, they are placed in line for initial plan review based on a first-come-first-serve basis. There are, however, some exceptions for 'quickie', counter review, fast track, and expedited plan reviews. For details, refer to Plan Review Services below.
When the plans are reviewed, a correction letter is prepared and plans are marked in red ink where corrections are needed. Plans and related documents are picked up by the contact person for corrections. After the corrections are made by the owner/agent, plans are accepted for a second plan review and they are placed in the resubmittal line on a first-come-first-serve basis.
At the second review, if the plans are in compliance with the corrections requested, they are approved. If there are still undone corrections, a second review correction letter is prepared by the plan-checker. Thus, the plans go back and forth in the system till they are approved.
Plan Review Services:
Regular Plan Review is done on a first-come-first-serve basis. Turnaround time varies from 15 to 20 working days.
Expedited for Residential and Non-Residential Building:
The requirements of plans are per handouts B-1 and B-2. With a surcharge of 35% over the basic plan check fee, plans are given priority and plan review service is provided within 10 days of initial submittal.
Quickie for Residential and Non-Residential Building:
Plans with limited complexity which are not likely to require more than 30 minutes for plan review qualify as "quickies".
Requirements for plans will vary, however, handouts B-1 and B-2 shall be used as guidelines.
Examples of what qualify as Quickies are:
- Minor revisions to plans which were previously approved by Building and Safety. Changes of the plans shall be entered on the original tracings and shall be identified by "clouding" the revision. Two copies of revised sheets shall be submitted for approval.
- One-story residential additions, maximum floor area of 1,000 square feet.
- Retaining walls where there are no more than two height variations throughout the length of the wall.
- Mobile home foundations.
- Tenant improvement less than 1,000 sq. ft. of "B" and "M" Occupancies Type III-B and V-B Construction as defined in the California Building Code. Plans must bear the wet signature of a California registered architect or engineer. Drawings must be submitted as a single, complete package, including architectural, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical plans. Submittals must be limited to tenant improvements which involve minor alterations to an existing building and do not require the plan review of Building Energy Efficiency Standards, fire-rated walls, fire-rated corridors, fire-protected openings, or handicapped restrooms or change of occupancy.
- Agricultural pumps, temporary power, pedestal, power pole and similar uses when over 200 amps, but not exceeding 400 amps.
- Rewiring of existing service when over 200 amps, but not exceeding 400 amps.
Fast Track for Non-Residential Building Only:
(Subject to Building Official Approval)
With a surcharge of 35% over basic plan check fee, plans are accepted in three phases.
Handout "B-2" shall be used as a primary guide and requirements of each phase shall be:
PHASE I (Foundation Only Permit)
PHASE II (Structural Shell Only)
PHASE III (Tenant Improvements)
- All site work plans including underground plumbing, mechanical and electrical work.
- Foundation plans and structural calculations for the entire building.
- Plan check and permit fees shall be 35% of total fees.
- Complete structural plans and calculations shall be submitted for the structure above the foundation.
- The location and details of all bearing walls, firewalls, occupancy separation walls and area separation walls shall be submitted.
- Plan check and permit fees shall be 45% of total fees.
- Complete architectural, structural, plumbing, mechanical and electrical plans, and all required energy calculations shall be submitted.
- Location and details of all handicapped accessibility features shall be shown on the plans.
- All corridors, stair shafts, and other exiting features shall be clearly shown and detailed.
- Plan check and permit fees shall be 20% of total fees.
Instant (or "Over the Counter") for Residential and "U" Occupancies:
Plans for minor, standardized projects which are not likely to require more than 15 minutes for review may be submitted to the plan checker at any time for processing while the applicant waits. No plan check number need be assigned to projects in this category. (This service is available only between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.) The requirements for plans will vary, however, Building and Safety handout B-1 shall be used as a guideline.
Examples of what qualify as "instant" are:
- Retaining walls having a single height throughout their length
- Minor changes of the plans (simple beams, rafter size and spacing, etc.)
- Less complex decks where no engineering is required
- Patio covers
IPC Inspector Plan check for Minor Residential Additions and U Occupancies:
Drawings for one-story residential additions of conventional construction will normally be reviewed by the building inspector rather than the plan check staff.
Plans shall contain sufficient information to show compliance with basic code requirements. Refer to handout "B-1" for specific requirements. Additions involving engineering calculation and two-story additions shall be referred to plan check staff.
Examples of what qualify as IPC are:
- One story room additions less than 1,000 square feet (non-engineered).
- Patio covers, carports, garages (non-engineered) except for those utilizing Building and Safety preapproved "handout" sheets, which will be issued over-the-counter.
- One story pool house/recreation buildings less than 1,000 square feet (non-engineered).
- Decks (non-engineered).
- Revisions to plans where no engineering is involved.
- Mobile home foundations, if Counter Staff is unable to issue permit over-the-counter.
- "Granny flats" (one story, conventional construction, 700 square feet maximum, detached).
Different types of plan reviews:
- Building: Includes life safety, structural, handicap accessibility, and energy conservation.
- Plumbing: Includes plumbing lines, water heaters, water closets, sinks, and lavatory, etc.
- Mechanical: Includes furnace, condenser, wall heaters, chillers, and duct workers, etc.
- Electrical: Includes electrical wiring, panel sizing, electrical equipment, etc.
Information on minimum requirements on my plans:
Plan-Check Staff Availability:
- Plan review information: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
- Plan check staff: 7:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Appointment is required to see plan reviewer.)